Original Research

The contribution of online mathematics games to algebra understanding in Grade 8

Tichaona Marange, Stanley A. Adendorff
Pythagoras | Vol 42, No 1 | a586 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v42i1.586 | © 2021 Tichaona Marange, Stanley A. Adendorff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 October 2020 | Published: 29 July 2021

About the author(s)

Tichaona Marange, Department of Research, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Stanley A. Adendorff, Department of Research, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

This study explores how online mathematics games contribute to Grade 8 learners’ understanding of basic principles and more sophisticated aspects of algebra. This project documents the trajectory of a purposive sample of 30 Grade 8 learners doing mathematics and one mathematics educator. The study is premised on the argument that learners with the guidance of the teacher can grasp algebraic concepts better and learn to manipulate these imaginatively and independently, by integrating new online mathematics games into standard classroom teaching of mathematics. The study was located within the interpretive qualitative research paradigm and used a case study approach. Data were collected by means of (1) lesson observations, (2) questionnaires and (3) semi-structured interviews. The data collected were analysed through the lens of the sociocultural theory, social constructivism and the activity theory. This study supports the view, set out in the literature reviewed, that the way in which resources are utilised can substantially improve the teaching and learning of algebraic concepts. Teachers should encourage learners to venture into the world of online mathematics games to learn algebra because they help learners to be creative, look for patterns, make conjectures, collect data, express their own thoughts, accept the ideas of others and establish structured forms of cooperation. The teacher’s role is to show and guide the learners how to use online mathematics games to solve mathematics problems. This study’s main recommendation, among others, is a revision of the curriculum to integrate online mathematics games into all subjects in classrooms at all levels.

Keywords

Online mathematics games; algebra; paradigm; pedagogy; curriculum; case study

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